Passion in the pubs but it’s not matched on the pitch
DISAPPOINTING and terrible were the two words being used by distraught city football fans as England crashed out of the World Cup.
A heavy 4-1 defeat by the Three Lions’ bitter rivals Germany in yesterday’s second round tie condemned Peterborough football followers to another World Cup heartache.
It is now 44 years since England last won a major football trophy, when they lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1966.
But it was not the scoreline which upset the thousands of city football lovers, it was the nature of the performance as England lacked the courage and the talent to progress.
Devon Murray (22), from Hampton, who watched the game at the Sports Lounge, in King Street, with around 500 hundred other fans, said: “I’m really disappointed.
“I expect more from England. But the atmosphere in here was amazing throughout the match.”
However, Andrew Cook (30), of Stanground, said: “I knew it was coming. It was obvious from the group stages that we were not good enough to go past this stage in the tournament.”
While, Steven Slack (22), of Orton Waterville, at least lined his pockets following the match – having bet on the Germans to win.
He said: “I thought the defence just wasn’t strong enough. But I bet against my own team because I know at the end of the day that I want to win money, over football!”
Steven also believed the omens for an England victory were bad when the big screen at the venue broke down prior to kick-off.
The generator which powered the giant 5m by 4m LCD screen cut out 45 minutes before the big match got underway.
However, with help from management at the Queensgate centre which allowed the venue to use its electricity supply, the screen was restored with minutes to spare.
Steven added: “When I saw the screen wasn’t working, then I knew it was a bad omen from the start.”
Co-owner of the Sports Lounge, Simon Baker, paid tribute to the hundreds of punters who stuck around to watch the screen spring into ac- tion at 2.55pm.
He said: “A massive thank you to everyone for staying patient and also to Queensgate for letting us use their electricity supply.”
However, after the game, which was the venue’s last World Cup party, he added: “I’m gutted. I feel sorry for the punters about England losing because I wanted to take these events all the way to the final.”
Heart Peterborough radio presenter and ET columnist Kev Lawrence, who compered the event at the Sports Lounge, said: “It’s an absolutely terrible result.
“But I look to the positives and I’m so proud that Peterborough could put on a fantastic event, with loads of fun for people to come out and watch the game
“It’s just a shame that the England team’s efforts couldn’t match the efforts of all the people who worked really hard to put this, and the previous events, on.”
However, the mood at the end of the match could not have been more different to the one in the moments prior to kick-off.
As around 750 people at Charters, near Town Bridge, sang their hearts out for the national anthem, hopes were brewing for an England vic- tory. Chris Blowers (43), of Welland Road, Peterborough, took his stepdaughter Jessica Harding (13), to the riverside venue.
He said: “England have been poor up until last Wednesday, when we played Slovenia, and we look like a team who should get the result today if we play like that.
“It’s really good at Charters, really nice with a friendly atmosphere and great support for England.”
As the game got underway, the vast crowd at the venue cheered and shouted with almost every kick of the ball as the Three Lions tried to snatch the early advantage.
However, their optimism was soon turned into despair as striker Miroslav Klose put the Germans ahead in the 20th minute.
Just 12 minutes later it was even worse as Klose’s strike partner Lukas Podolski made it 2-0 – to the dismay of the Charters crowd.
As the first-half moved on, England grew in confidence and so did the crowds of people who packed every available spot inside The Solstice, in Northminster.
In the 37th minute they got what they were cheering for when England defender Matthew Upson cut the deficit to 2-1.
His goal caused the atmosphere to reach fever pitch inside the venue as the Three Lions faithful erupted into joyous celebration.
Just moments later, the masses were out of their seats once more when Frank Lampard’s long-range effort crashed off the underside of the bar and seemingly over the line.
However, they were left shocked and in disbelief as the assistant referee ruled that the ball had not crossed the line.
Nevertheless, at half-time, the fans at The Solstice were optimistic.
Rob Lamont (37), from Bretton, Peterborough, said then: “The atmosphere is electric. I’ve got every confidence that we will still win.”
But after an edgy start to the second half, which left many fans at the Sports Lounge biting their fingernails, disaster struck.
A quick-fire double from Thomas Muller made it 4-1 to the Germans, ended England’s hopes of lifting the famous trophy.
Thousands of fans left the city centre venues wondering what might have been.
Police inspector Kate Scott had the last word when she said: “It has been a quiet afternoon for police in Peterborough.”
OPTIMISM: Hundreds of fans packed into the Sports Lounge King Street. (METP-27-06-10RH548)